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Fraud in the Workplace – Qui Tam Action

Fraud in the Workplace – Qui Tam Action

Qui Tam & The False Claims Act (FCA)

“Qui Tam” action is a Latin abbreviation for “Qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur” from the middle ages. Literally translated, it means “Who as well for the king as himself sues in this matter.” In today’s legal terminology it means “An action brought under statute that allows a private person to sue for such a penalty, part of which the government or some specified public institution will receive.” That may seem obscure, but it has real life consequences in business.

business lawWhen fraud is suspected in a work place it should be reported. People fear repercussions of whistle-blowing from their employer such as harassment or losing their job. This is the very reason you should inform a business litigation attorney if you are in this situation or unsure. They can look over evidence such as what was witnessed or experienced. Expert attorneys and staff gather evidence to remove you from further risk. Sometimes this can include taxes or other government related payments or claims. This situation is referred to as Qui Tam action under the (FCA) False Claims Act because it involves the government.

Here are a few common clues that may indicate you may have discovered a violation of law under FCA:

  • A person or entity deceives the Federal Government to improperly obtain money from the government or improperly be relieved from paying money to the government covered under the FCA.
  • Knowingly being presented or caused to be presented a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval to an officer or employee of the United States government.
  • Knowingly made, used, or caused to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid by the government.
  • Conspired to defraud the government by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid; or
  • Knowingly made, used, or caused to be made or used, a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the government, (reverse false claim).

Legally a claim under this act is “any request or demand, under a contract or otherwise, for money or property made to a contractor, grantee, or other recipient,” if any part of it will be provided or reimbursed by the United States. Therefore, requests for money or property made directly against the government or made to a party other than the government that will result in a loss to the United States is an actionable claim. Basically – if you get the feeling that your company is somehow cheating the government, you should contact a business attorney.

What Are Possible “Qui Tam” Consequences?

If it turns out that the company is making decisions at a loss to the federal government, the consequences could be serious. For example, those persons or companies that violate the FAC law, are required to pay the government back three times the amount of the actual damages suffered. On top of that, there are mandatory civil penalties that can be as high as $11,000. Now not everyone falls under this act. Exemptions from Qui Tam and FCA laws can get very complicated when it comes to the military, congress, or the Internal Revenue Service.

This is one situation that a do-it-yourself approach cannot solve. The wisest decision that you can make if you suspect fraud in a work place is to reach out to an expert business law attorney. Let an expert advise you on how to proceed.

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